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Depping in Theatre

The deputy system is an efficient and long-established way of organising musicians. 

Last updated: 18 February 2022

Our theatre agreements make reference to the use of deps through a ‘code of conduct’, however always check with the Fixer or engaging theatre what provision for deps will be part of the contract prior to agreeing it.

Payment of deps will be down to you, always ensure you pay your deps no less than what you receive and on time. If you are the dep it’s in your best interest to do plenty of preparatory work and be prepared to play the show as close to the same way as that of the regular player. You are unlikely to be afforded a rehearsal and the expectation will be that your first show will be near perfect.

Be prepared to take constructive criticism from the MD or other members of the band, remember it’s the musical integrity of the show that is important. If you are accepted as a dep you may be added to a list of approved deputies for a particular show.

Musicians with regular theatre work will need deputies. If you do get the opportunity to sit in, it might be they are looking for a dep, or it might be they are just being generous — they will let you know.

If you do land a regular gig, then you may wish to book a deputy yourself. Always ensure you confirm the booking and double check a day or so before. Agree a fee which should not be less than the fees set out within the Union agreements; again, you can check these fees by contacting your Regional Office or by looking online. If on tour be prepared to pay any travel costs incurred by deps also.

Contact the Musicians' Union today

The MU has a network of experienced teams available to help musicians in all areas of the industry. If you have any questions about our services, membership or how the MU could help you, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

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